Nearly 10 million American adults suffer from bipolar disorder, a mental health disorder that many people associate with extreme “highs” and deep “lows.” But bipolar disorder symptoms are a lot more complex than that, and without proper treatment and ongoing management, they can have a devastating impact on your life.
At So Cal Psychiatric Care, Sanjoy Sathpathy, MD, and his team provide patient-centered, lifestyle-oriented care for patients in San Diego, California, who are suffering from bipolar disorder. In this post, you’ll learn some simple lifestyle changes that can help you manage your condition and lead a healthier, happier life.
People who have bipolar disorder experience periods of agitation and extreme energy called mania. People who don’t have the disorder often view the mania phase as a period of high efficiency and productivity. But the opposite is actually true.
During the manic phase, you may feel completely overwhelmed and unfocused. Having a schedule of your day-to-day activities can be a big help in keeping you on track, especially when you can cross items off as you accomplish them.
When your home is cluttered, your mind can become cluttered, too, making it difficult to focus and hard to cope with your symptoms. Try to pare down your possessions and keep daily and weekly cleaning tasks written down on your daily schedule.
This way, you can keep your area organized on a regular basis before your space has a chance to get bogged down in papers and belongings.
Physical activity is another item to add to your daily task list. It’s well known that regular exercise can improve your mood, and it can also help decrease stress, which can be a trigger for many people with bipolar disorder.
The key is to find exercises that work for you and to aim for at least a half hour of activity every day. If you can combine exercise with some outdoor time to soak up that fresh air and sunshine, even better.
A healthy diet supports good mental health as well as good physical health. For people with bipolar disorder, it’s very important to avoid sugary foods and processed foods, sticking to whole grains, lean proteins, and fruits and vegetables. You should also avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
Sleep plays an important role in mood management for all of us, but if you have bipolar disorder, its role is especially critical. Research shows lack of quality sleep can trigger bipolar symptoms, and what’s more, sleep problems are more common among people with the disorder. Committing yourself to good sleep hygiene habits can help you break this cycle. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine website offers a list of tips to help you start.
We frequently recommend keeping a “mood journal” to help identify potential triggers and to help you play a more active role in managing bipolar symptoms. Recording daily activities, like your meals, your exercise and activities, your sleep, and of course, any symptoms you notice can help us keep your treatment on track.
Plus, it’s a great way to remind yourself of any questions you want to ask during your next appointment.
Although bipolar disorder can make you feel isolated, there are lots of people who’ve been diagnosed with the condition. Joining a support group is a great way to connect with others going through similar experiences, and having supportive family members or a trustworthy friend can help, too.
Like any chronic medical issue, bipolar disorder requires ongoing management to help keep it under control. That means taking any prescribed medications as directed and keeping your regular appointments, as well as incorporating lifestyle changes when you can.
We also provide TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a treatment option for Mood Disorder. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, or need to find out more about TMS, reach out to us before making any changes to your plan.
Bipolar disorder affects everyone differently, but it can be managed with a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. To learn how we can help, call 858-923-5226 or book an appointment online today.